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Summary of the Evaluation of the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program, Phase 2 (GEM-2)

Evaluation Findings


A need exists for geoscience research in northern Canada beyond 2020. However, emerging needs may require different approaches and products in any future programming.


At its mid-point, GEM was on track to add significantly to the geoscience knowledge base of northern Canada. Notable facilitating factors were the efforts in obtaining the social licence to operate, a collaborative approach to research, and logistical and coordination support from the GEM coordination Office and the Polar Continental Shelf Program. However, knowledge transfer and dissemination, community-level stakeholder engagement, and tools and methods to support the use of geoscience by northerners were more limited in terms of availability and effectiveness.

Key factors impeding the achievement of outcomes were: 1) technical barriers in electronic access to information; 2) lack of a clearly articulated dissemination and knowledge transfer strategy; and 3) capacity challenges.


  1. In light of identified and emerging needs for geoscience data and knowledge beyond 2020, it is recommended that NRCan conduct a needs assessment with a full range of external stakeholders to inform future programming in northern Canada.
  2. To build on the success of its community engagement efforts in obtaining the social license to operate in northern Canada, it is recommended that the GEM program conduct a review of its northern engagement strategy.
  3. Given the challenges with respect to accessing GEM knowledge, the development, distribution and use of tools, and the role of research scientists in the dissemination of research and knowledge transfer, it is recommended that the GEM program develop and implement a strategic plan to enhance knowledge transfer/uptake by industry and the community.
  4. Given the challenges to operating in the north it is recommended that NRCan identify a plan to address the barriers (i.e. travel, low bandwidth) to successful program delivery in northern communities.
  5. Given the need for clarity in identifying and representing the intended outcomes of geoscience research programs, it is recommended that subsequent programs develop a performance measurement strategy that reflects the program design and rationale more accurately.

Program Description

GEM-2 is a $100 million program to conduct geoscience research in northern Canada to inform land-use decisions and resource potential. A key approach for GEM-2 was engagement to facilitate the use of GEM data and knowledge by Northerners.

Scope and Methodology, Constraints and Limitations

The evaluation employed multiple lines of evidence to assess program relevance and performance between 2013-14 to 2016-17. Misaligned program theory and performance measurement data, as well as non-production of a study on GEM northern engagement, challenged the evaluation.

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